Hi everybody,

this is the story about the repotting of one Yamadori Sabina that will end up with two?! I bought this nice mid-sized Yamadori a year ago and let it untouched all this time to make sure that it was enough settled and strong enough to repot safely. I acquired it because of its stunning movement with a lot of deadwood and because there was (maybe) the possibility to separate it into two beautiful small trees! Buth early this year I started to see a decline in this little tree health and I decided that I would take it out of its plastic container because I wanted to see what caused this?! And now looking back, I am glad that I did because it was planted after collecting in some sort of very compact sticky muddy soil with not much-draining capability?! So with a lot of frightened anticipation, I took it out of its container to find what I was afraid of…poor soil! So even though it was not in a good condition I had to act before the tree would suffer even more, so I decided to free it from all this bad soil and plant it in a proper Bonsai soil mixture in which it could recuperate to become healthy and happy again!

Below: the two trunks Sabina Yamadori.

Below: close up of two separate trunks. One all twisted and turned with a long twisted Jin and the other one slanting more straight and gently twisting with a foliage crown at the end.

Below: viewed from another angle.

Below: released from its plastic container.

Below: Carefully and anxiously combing out the roots hoping for plenty healthy roots and for roots on both trunks so that they could be separated from each other without any danger or problems?!

Below: looks promising with plenty roots!

Below: look at all those roots on the left and the right trunk…but is it enough so that the two trunks can be separated?!

Below: red arrow points to roots growing from the curly trunk. Green arrow points at a thick root that grows to the right from the curly trunk. Blue arrow points to roots that grow from this thick root…so there are more than enough roots to keep the curly trunk alive and healthy when it could be separated from the second straight trunk! The white arrows point at the root mass that grows from that second straight trunk! The yellow line in the middle of the picture shows the spot where the two trunks could be separated from each other!

Below: seen from the other side. Red arrow point at the roots that grow from the end of that thick root that grows from the curly trunk. The yellow line shows the spot where the two trunks will be separated.

Below: the cut will be made from this side right across that yellow line.

Below: carefully cutting with the help of a power saw.

Below: mission accomplished! The two trunks are separated successfully! The straight trunk on the left has more than enough roots. And the right side curly trunks roots are spread out on the plastic green surface and look more than enough…so I am relieved and very happy! Now I have to keep the exposed roots moist of one of them while I plant the other into its new home away from his brother or sister?!

Below: this repotting and separation even reviled an more than welcome unexpected wide rootbase on the curly tree!!! Making it even better than it already was!!! And this provided a better anchor point to secure it to the pot with wires!

Below: with the help of a chopstick the soil mixture containing Akadama, Kiryu and Bims is pushed in between all the roots, making sure that now are pockets are left!

Below: then the tree is watered thoroughly until the water that runs out of the pot is clear of any dust!

Below: next the straight trunk is prepared to go in its new home. Here a long thick death root is cut off so that it will fit easier in its pot.

Below: the tree placed on the bottom layer of large particles soil for extra drainage. Just look at all those roots that fill almost the whole pot!

Below: two wooden blocks are placed under the right side to support the tree into its new desired position and then it is firmly anchored to the pot with thick wires.

Below: carefully bringing in the soil.

Below: then watering it like before. In the next couple of weeks, the trees will be kept in a warm spot with filtered sunlight and their foliage will be misted a couple of times a day to help them safely through this period

Below: separated but still together they stand here at their start as two future Bonsai.

I hope you enjoyed this little story of one Sabina Yamadori that became two pre-Bonsai with hopefully a bright future ahead of them?!


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

as promised here are the sightseeing pictures that I made last weekend when I visited beautiful Slovenia for my workshop at Tomaz Kovsca International Bonsai School “TORA”. All pictures are made with a 20 years old low pixel camera so they are not up to the level of my usual foto’s…but I still hope you enjoy the images of the sometimes breathtaking nature and old villages?! That I had brought along this old one with me turned out to be a good idea, because I fell down twice on the very steep mountainside where I shot the first pictures that I am about to show you! 🙂

 These first pictures are made in the very old village Škofja loka, that was first mentioned in 973 A.D.

Below: views from the bridge over which you enter the ancient village.

Below: very old preserved wall painting everywhere and a beautiful old tree. And on the right bottom: a not so old Tomaz! 🙂

Below: our first mountain stop and a beautiful scenery just before it started to rain.


Below: A stunning example of a real size Literati sylvestris!

Below: And a real-life example of how we should shape our branches on a Literati Bonsai!

Below: Trough the branches of this ancient Linden tree you can just make out that at the end of this winding path on the top of this hill lies a church! It is named Sv. Primož in Felicijan at Jamnik (Saints Primus and Felician) it dates from 1501. Tomaz told me that in the olden day’s people (even Christians) worshipped Linden trees…that makes this a very old tree! It was very spiritual to walk up this path in the footsteps of so many that went before me!

Below: it must have taken many centuries for these two branches in love to reach each other, but now they are looked into their kiss forever!

Below: only a good friend could capture a moment like this in this way!

Below: views from that top.

Below: one of the many emerald greens river that we came across during our trip!

Below: The beautiful Lake Bohinj is unlike the more famous Lake Bled unspoiled by hotels, bars and mass tourism! It was breathtakingly beautiful and it charged us for the upcoming workshop that afternoon!

I hope you all enjoyed this little impression of just a few hours of driving through this beautiful country?! I can’t wait to revisit it next May to see more amazing places and to spend more time with some of the friendliest folks I have ever meet!


Hans van Meer.






Hi everybody,

I am proud to announce that I will be giving a workshop on Friday the 6th of April in my dear Slovenian friend TOMAŽ KOVŠCA his International Bonsai School “TORA”.

TORA International Bonsai School

Besides being really honoured I am also very happy to be reacquainted and working again with a lot of my Slovenian Bonsai friends! I have already heard that it is fully booked…but maybe there is still place for my workshop a month later on 19 and 20 May 2018 at the VIII yearly international Bonsai exhibition of the Slovenian Bonsai Club?! Hope to see you there?!


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

last week we had record breaking low temperatures here in Holland and young and old grabbed this unique chance and went ice skating where and whenever they could! Typical Dutch fun…no wonder we won most of the ice speed skating medals at the Olympics!!! This was pretty precarious because I already had repotted several of my Bonsai the week before all this arctic weather started. The below pictures were made on the 4th of March.


I hope you enjoyed these unexpected Winter images?!


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

the Monday after this year Noelanders Trophy weekend my old and dear friends Tony Tickle and Terry Foster visited my garden before they would get on the boot from Europoort to England. This visit from Tony has become a real annual tradition this last decade or so and it is always something that we all look forward to. But this time was even more special because this time I had a special present waiting for Tony to thank him for all that he has done for me in the past. It was the now well-established air layer that I took 2 years ago from my big old Prunus mahaleb Yamadori. It has wonderful deadwood running all along its trunk and I am sure that Tony will make a stunning Bonsai out of it! It made me feel good to return the pleasure this time and I wish them both a happy future!

Below: Me and Tony and his Prunus mahaleb.


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

just to let you all know that I just posted the video that I made at Teunis Jan Klein “DESHIMA” Bonsai Studio (NL) of the amazing demo from Bonsai Master Kunio Kobayashi-san !!! He transforms a big field grown Pinus thunbergii from China into a wonderful Bonsai! You just got to see it too believe it, just how fast this almost 70 years old Master works with most of the time 3 scissors in one hand?! And still finds time to explain everything and to constantly cracking jokes! The quality of the sound and film is sometimes a little bit of…but I still hope you will enjoy this amazing master and the amazing transformation?!


Hans van Meer.


Hi everybody,

my dear old Bonsai friends Tony Tickle and Terry Foster (UK) came last Monday straight from the Noelanders Trophy to visit my house, garden and for some light refreshments and a dinner and a lot of small and of course Bonsai talk! And although it was really freezing that day we still spend a lot of time looking at and discusing my Bonsai. Especially Terry was really interested in the (in his words) amazing ramification on my Yamadori Hawthorn named “LITTLE TONY”! And while we both were discussing it Tony was making a short impression video of some of my trees in the garden. It turned out nicely so I would like to share the link with you all so that you can get some sort of idea about my work and my tinny Bonsai garden. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it?!


Hans van Meer.




Hi everybody,

last Tuesday evening on the 30th of January I drove all excited to Nieuwekerk aan den IJssel (NL) for the evening demonstration and meet and greet with the great Japanese Bonsai Master Kunio Kobayashi. My dear friend Teunis Jan Klein (the owner and the proprietor of Deshima Bonsai Studio) had managed to get this superstar of Japanese Bonsai to do an evening meet and greet and a spectacular evening demo on Tuesday. And on Wednesday and Thursday, a daytime workshop for 8 people under the guidance of the Master followed by an evening traditional Japanese Kaiseki dinner with the master and his charming wife in the top Japanese restaurant Yama Cuisine in beautiful Rotterdam (NL). Teunis Jan has managed to organize something truly special and unique in the Bonsai world! I was regretfully only able to attend the evening demo…but boy o boy what a top evening it turned out to be! And what an amazing specimen demo tree did Teunis reserved for master Kobayashi his demo! It was a large field-grown Pinus thunbergii that he bought over a decade ago when he was in China for his work as a purchaser for a large Bonsai importer. Over those years he skillfully managed to get tons of new foliage all over the branches so there was plenty to work with for this demo! The tree has amazing bark and beautiful movement and was well fit for even a master like Mister Kobayashi is! After Teunis gave the audience some explanation how he went about to organize this 3 days event he introduced  Satoko Takagi the translator who would translate every word mister Kobayashi would share with us into Dutch. And then he introduced the two skilful assistance that would help the master that evening, the first one Hugo Zamoraluna from Mexico came along with Mister Kobayashi from Japan and the second one Ralph Oduber a student of Teunis Jan that has studied at Mister Kobayashi his school Shunka En in the past. While Teunis Jan was doing this Mister Kobayashi was already very busy at work lifting the heavy tree in all kinds of different angles like it weighed nothing and if he is not almost 70 years old and not just of the plain from a long flight from Japan…amazing!!! It was funny to see that Teunis had to call him to order to stop for a minute so that he could introduce him properly to us all! He received a hearty applause from the Bonsai enthusiasts and then he was off again to what he does the best and while he was answering all kinds of questions and explaining what he was doing, he and his helpers tilted the tree in the desired position and secured it with wire to the turntable and then started to cut off all unnecessary foliage and branches.

Below: Because I was at the same time shooting a video I started to make photo’s when they were already a few minuted selecting the necessary branches and cutting off the unnecessary foliage and branches. And that was all don in an enormously fast tempo! If you just look at all the foliage on the floor at this point then you can clearly see just how far they already were when I shoot this first picture!

Below: and more and more was cut off leaving only the necessary foliage.

Below: 70 years old?! I wish that I could sit on my knees like that and I am only 57 ?! 😉

Below: the assistance started to pluck needles and wiring while the master was cutting off even more foliage!

Below: wiring the branches and foliage. On the right, you can see a picture of how the tree looked just after Teunis Jan had bought it in China all those years ago.

Below: look how he amazingly is working with tree cutters in his right hand?! And still managed to wire small branches??? But he has hat a lot of practice doing Bonsai for 15 hours a day over the last 45 years! 🙂

Below: with every wire that is applied and branches that are positioned more and more beauty is revealed…like magic!!! 

Below: the growth could not control their selfs any longer when the whole top section was bent forward with the help of a special Bonsai tool! It was bent until some cracks appeared and then secured in place with some heavy copper wire.

Below: and below the amazing end result after some 3 hours of work. What an amazingly quick transformation into a very promising Bonsai! What a talented and skilful visionary is this very sympathetic, humorous and modest master! It was so inspiring to watch his every move from so close by! Thanks for a very memorable evening mister Kobayashi and Teunis Jan Klein and all the volunteers that helped that night in DESHIMA BONSAI STUDIO for making this all possible for us all!  

The 2o minutes’ video of this whole stunning transformation is in the making and will be posted on my own youtube KARAMOTTO Bonsai channel in a few days time so watch this space!!! 

I hope you enjoyed this for me special post of a unique Bonsai experience?!


Hans van Meer.



Winterbomenpresentatie / Nieuwjaarsreceptie Bonsai Café NL / Deshima Bonsai Studio.

My Ilex verticillata at the show.
Pic. Ed van der Reek.

Hallo allemaal en de beste wensen nog,

 Zaterdag 6 jan. jongleden was het alweer tijd voor de jaarlijkse Winterboom presentatie en Nieuwjaars borrel in Teunis Jan Klein zijn geweldige Bonsai studio “Deshima” in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel. Hij had samen met de vrijwilligers van zijn Bonsai Café NL weer enorm veel werk verricht om er weer een geweldige Bonsai dag van te maken voor de vele bezoekers! Ik was door Teunis ook uitgenodigd om een Bonsai ten toon te komen stellen dus ik moest die dag weer eens vroeg uit de veren om mijn Ilex verticullata om 9 uur s’ochtens op te kunnen stellen voor dat de deuren open gingen om 10 uur! In de grote voor de gelegenheid om gebouwde open buiten kas was rond om een mooie ruimte gecreëerd met zwarte tafels en zwarte achterwanden zodat de winterbomen nog beter tot hun recht konden komen. Het opbouwen van je presentatie is altijd leuk en spannend om te doen en het is altijd weer een mooi moment om te zien hoe je Bonsai na al die jaren van werk er uit ziet op zijn Paas best! Na heel wat handjes schudden en de nodige praatjes was het alweer 10 uur en tijd voor Teunis Jan om namens Deshima Bonsai Studio en Bonsai Café NL iedereen van harte welkom te heten en om de Winterbomen presentatie 2018 te openen. Waarna iedereen zijn eigen weg ging om de tentoongestelde Bonsai te bewonderen of om gezellig wat aan de bar te drinken onder het genot van de gratis krentenbollen of om tussen de collectie top kwaliteit potten en binnen en buiten Bonsai te zoeken naar iets moois om te kopen! Om 11 uur begon de zeer interessante PowerPoint presentatie door Dominique Bosch over zijn leer periode in Japan. Tussen 12 en 1 uur werd de demo ruimte voor Dominique demonstratie ingericht terwijl er een digitale presentatie was van Bonsai Empire over uiteenlopende Bonsai tentoonstellingen van over de hele wereld. Om 1 uur werd onder het genot van een heerlijk glas bubbels met onze gastheer het glas op het komende schitterende bonsai jaar geheven. En een kwartiertje later begon de geslaagde demonstratie van Dominique op een niet zo voor de hand legende Jeneverbes, die later verloot werd onder de mensen die lootjes gekocht hadden. De boom ging uit eindelijk naar mijn student en vriend Diederick. 😊 De rest van de middag genoten we van al het moois in dit mooie Bonsai center en van de Winterbomenpresentatie met Bonsai die we elkaar willen laten zien en vertelden welke plannen we met onze bomen hebben voor het nieuwe jaar. Rond 5 uur ging iedereen weer met zijn eigen bomen of met hun nieuw aanwinsten moe maar voldaan weer op huis aan. Ik wil hierbij Teunis Jan en alle vrijwilligers van het Bonsai Café bedanken voor al hun werk dat deze zeer hartverwarmende Bonsai dag mogelijk maakte! Helaas heb ik geen foto’s gemaakt maar binnen kort zet ik een door mij geschoten korte video van deze mooie dag op YouTube!

Tot volgend jaar in goede gezondheid dan maar weer!


Hans van Meer.

PS: De hier boven door mij getoonde Ilex heeft het gelukkig door de voor sellectie van de Noelanders Trophy 2018 gehaald en zal daar in Februari tussen al dat Bonsai geweld te zien zijn! 🙂 Dus mijn Bonsai jaar is al goed begonnen dus!!! 😉


Deshima Bonsai Studio.

Ir Leleystraat 44

Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel   2912 CH



Hi everybody,

I like to wish all my Bonsai friends from around this world a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Joyful and Healthy New Year!!!


Ilex verticilatta. Urban Yamadori. 5 trunk/ Kabudachi/Gokan. Pot: Isabelia.


Hans van Meer.